-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Certain factors unique to
professional sports can increase the risk of outbreaks of highly
contagious norovirus among teams and their staff, a new report
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis (often
referred to as stomach flu) and causes 21 million cases of illness
in the United States each year.
The report, published in the Oct. 31 online edition of the
Clinical Infectious Diseases, describes a norovirus outbreak involving as many as 13 National Basketball Association teams in 11 states that occurred in November and December 2010. It's the first report of a norovirus outbreak in a professional sports league, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers.
"We confirmed that norovirus spread within at least one team and possibly from one team to another," researcher Dr. Rishi Desai said in a news release from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. "Overall, 21 players and three staff from 13 teams were affected."
Demanding schedules and close interaction between athletes and
team staff put them at increased risk for norovirus infection, the
authors pointed out. Athletes and staff spend a lot of time
together in closed spaces such as airplanes, buses, locker rooms
and on the court, and in such settings, norovirus can spread easily
and quickly through the air and on objects and surfaces where it
can remain infectious for days or weeks, the CDC researchers
The report outlined a number of ways that sports teams can limit
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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